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EM-P: A Practical Solution to the Issue of Reparations

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

Another of Equity Management-Plato’s purposes is to be part of a solution for the issue of “reparations” in America. Regarding reparations in America, they were tried after the civil war, at the start of America’s Second Democratic Republic, during the Reconstruction Era when the barriers to black advancement were removed in the South, allowing freed slaves to ascend to heights previously unknown socially, politically, and economically. However, these first efforts at reparations came to a quick and violent end as the forces of reaction dismantled Reconstruction and instituted a hundred years of state-sponsored discrimination and segregation called the Jim Crow Era. At the end of the Jim Crow Era, at the beginning of America’s Third Democratic Republic, and in response to black demands, America embarked on another attempt at reparations by enacting civil rights legislation and implementing affirmative action. However, just as in the case of the first attempt to enact reparations, the forces of reaction almost immediately set about trying to blunt the effects of if not totally eliminate the elements of this second attempt at reparations, and they made great progress in their efforts.


America now finds itself at the beginning of its Fourth Democratic Republic, and the unfinished business of reparations has still not been sufficiently addressed. The contemporary debate over reparations has added new fuel to the opposition’s arguments against them because it has tended to focus almost exclusively on financial compensation to the descendants of slaves. The costs of such financial compensation (for all of the unpaid labor not to mention murder, rape, beatings, lynchings, family separation, institutionalized and state-sponsored discrimination, segregation, etc.) have been estimated at between 5 trillion dollars and 97 trillion dollars. A consensus seems to be developing around a reparations cost number of between 14 trillion dollars to 17 trillion dollars seems to be developing.


But, what of the cost of reparations to Native Americans, women, Hispanics, etc.? These costs of reparations to blacks alone render an exclusively financial solution problematic. Obviously, the costs of reparations will skyrocket to the point of bankrupting the nation. So, what is the way forward? It is illustrative that the previous two efforts at implementing reparations to blacks eschewed financial compensation and focused on fixing a broken and rigged system rooted in racism and other maladies. Similarly, the strategic plan being offered herein, Equity Management-Plato, is focused on fixing a broken and rigged system rooted in racism (and other “isms”). Since the financial compensation reparations strategy is untenable, un-rigging the system has been the preferable way to address past wrongs in this regard and W&A thinks it is the way forward today.


The case for EM-P as the solution to “what form reparations should take is made in Chapter 2 and 3 of Ensuring Justice, Fairness, and Inclusion in America and the “International Democracy Project, White paper No 04. We invite all to read the book and the white paper(s) and arm themselves with the information required to engage in the national debate over this issue in an informed manner.


Attribution: Ta-Nehisi Coates